Monday, September 26, 2011

Smarties: eBay Edition

About a year ago, I joined the Disney Movie Club. Typically, I'm not a Disney aficionado, but I do love some of their classics and couldn't resist the temptation to own both CONDORMAN and DUCKTALES - THE MOVIE: TREASURE OF THE LOST LAMP on DVD, which are exclusively available through their club. Anyway, it works the same as any other movie or CD club (Columbia House, in particular). Annually, each month a selection is offered and you can either deny said selection or accept it. If you do nothing, they send it to you anyhow and it's your's to pay for. Basically, they're counting on me to get lazy and forget to respond (and they're completely right in doing so!), hence my receiving product that I don't want. Honestly, sending them back is too much of a hassle, so I've eBay'd a few titles recently.

It's been just over five years since I last sold on eBay. Aside from the listing process becoming more complex than it needs to be, not much else has changed in those five years. Case in point: I dealt with idiots back then and I'm dealing with them now. It's good to be back!(?)

I didn't expect to be blogging about my auctions, but one idiot pissed me off and here I am.
Here are the details of the listing in question (plus my photo of the actual item):

Disney's THE FOX AND THE HOUND (1981)

This 3-disc combo pack includes both films on DVD and Blu-ray format. (This edition features DVD packaging.)
From Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2011.
This item is in BRAND NEW/SEALED condition.
Shipping via Priority mail only. Winning bidder must make payment within 3 days of end of auction notice.
PayPal only, please. All sales are final.
Please ask any questions prior to bidding.
Thank you for looking!

Okay, the description is short and sweet, I'll admit, but it's definitely concise, and coupled with the added UPC-generated additional details provided by eBay which offer even further item specs, I'd say this is a pretty self-explanatory listing of what the curious bidders should come to expect. But, apparently, that's not enough for some people. Here's what one smart person had to ask me...

This is an authentic item, correct?
Thanks :)

And, here's my reply...
I shouldn't even bother honoring such query with a reply, but I have to ask what is it about my item description that confuses you to the point where you'd question it's authenticity? Have counterfeit DVD/Blu-ray combo packs for Disney's "The Fox And The Hound" / "The Fox And The Hound II" been a problem for you in the past?

Too harsh, maybe? Nah.
After all, I don't coddle stupidity.
I could have started my response with "Dearest Doorknob," but I just didn't feel that this person was worth such formal letter composure.

Seriously, what about the details given typifies that the item could be anything other than authentic? Could it be that I didn't supply those magic words of assurance, "By the way, in case you are wondering, this is authentic. Really, it is!" Perhaps my "all sales are final" policy makes them weary. Sorry, folks, but I don't wish to do the tango with you. I just want some cash for some stuff that I no longer wish to have in my possession. Here's my general rule: The buyer shouldn't have to worry about returning items on account of the fact that I don't sell crap, nor items of questionable quality. Plus, the item is new... NEW, I say! Sealed, even!

As Charles Bronson said to the goombah choking on the poisoned cannoli in DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH, "You got a problem?"

Behind Them Scenes: THE HOWLING

Joe Dante directs a werewolf...

Avco-Embassy Pictures, Inc., 1981
Directed by Joe Dante

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Quotations

Today's great quotation:

"All ye suckers who are gonna get trimmed, step this way for
the big swindle!"
- Groucho Marx as Hammer from THE COCOANUTS (1929)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Bad Combinations

Here we have two great, fun films packaged together. The hook here seems to be that they both have Harlem in the title. What MGM forgot was that HELL UP IN HARLEM is already the second half of another double bill, since it's the sequel to BLACK CAESAR. C'mon, MGM! You own both of these Larry Cohen / Fred Williamson features and they always belong together. Of course, COTTON COMES TO HARLEM has it's own continuation, too, COME BACK, CHARLESTON BLUE. But, that's a Warner Bros. property.
Calling Warner Archive...

Okay, this is not a bad pairing. Here we have two sports-related comedies, both produced by Kings Road Entertainment. TOUCH AND GO is an alright film, more of a light romantic comedy than anything and, well, I love me some FAST BREAK. So what's the problem? Obviously, it's the cover art. First of all, the quality is total dollar shop... hell, not even that good. (One can only imagine how great the transfers on the actual discs are.) The release, itself, is quite shoddy from a company no one knows and questionably legitimate, but just HOW do you miss the mark on marketing FAST BREAK? The actor pictured here is Harold Sylvester who is definitely a large part of the film, however, he is not the star. That would be Gabe Kaplan. Remember him? Well, they obviously don't. Add to the fact that this photo of Sylvester is not related at all to the film, in fact, it was probably taken around fifteen years later. So, there you have it. A double feature of sports-related comedies featuring two comedic titans, right? Seems like a slam dunk to me, but the powers involved either missed the shot or the clock ran out.

We have a winner! Never have I seen a worse combination of two films. One is an imaginative, highly entertaining epic directed by a master filmmaker. The other is an complete shit directed by and starring a master of exactly that. Someone owes John Carpenter an apologetic hug. This is an absolute disgrace.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bad Combinations

I grow tired of coming across abysmal studio "collections."
Whether they're double, triple or quadruple features, they really should make sense.
Here are a few that make me cringe...

Let me get this straight, you're taking a well-done slasher film and pairing it with a film from the GHOULIES franchise? Scratch that... a bastard film in the GHOULIES franchise?! Just because you own the rights to two different horror film properties doesn't make them two peas in a pod. For future reference, GHOULIES IV shouldn't be paired with anything, even GHOULIES GO TO COLLEGE.

Unless they mean this is a triple feature of three out of four films that are worth a shit, I'd say this would be a QUADRUPLE feature set.

Here's one of the more ridiculous combinations I've found. Yes, they're two cross-country race films and true enough that both of the CANNONBALL RUN features were inspired by THE GUMBALL RALLY, but wouldn't it make much more sense to make this a double bill of THE CANNONBALL RUN and CANNONBALL RUN II?! I'd understand if Warner didn't have distribution rights to the original film, but that's certainly not the case. The original is currently available via HBO Video ...WHICH WARNER BROS. OWNS!

Idealistically, there is nothing wrong with this arrangement of films, but the grindhouse thing is really getting old. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love those types of films (my heart lies in exploitation / genre cinema), however, since Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez breathed new life into the term, video companies have been cashing in on it ever since. I know, I know... exploitation begets exploitation, but, what's particularly lame is when distributors don't truly understand the definition of the term, such as exampled here. There's absolutely no such thing as a "drive-in grindhouse." Not only is the term contradictory, to say the least (it's very hard to park an automobile in an actual movie theater without breaking a few laws), but it makes very little sense when one knows the difference between the two forums. Grindhouse is a term for "hardtop" theaters that specialized in the exhibition of films which would normally go unseen anywhere else, including drive-ins. That's not to say that they wouldn't showcase drive-in style fare, but it certainly wasn't what they were known for. (Think early John Waters films, pornographic pictures, questionable arthouse, European sleaze & gore fests or basically anything on 42nd Street pre-Rudolph Giuliani killing all the fun.)

Keep an eye out for the next poorly advised double bill, THE DELTA FORCE plus MISSING IN ACTION 2: THE BEGINNING. As for BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION III, sorry, but you're shit out of luck since MGM doesn't own the rights to DELTA FORCE 3.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Great Quotations

Today's Great Quotation:

"I'm not going into an alley with you or anybody.
And, fuck The Wall Street Journal!"

- Robert Redford as Joseph Turner in
Sydney Pollack's THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975)